Trump to return to New York courtroom for criminal hush money trial

Trump's criminal hush money trial, entering its 12th day, has featured testimony from a top aide and a former tabloid publisher about efforts during his first presidential bid to tamp down stories of unflattering sexual behavior.
Last Updated : 06 May 2024, 11:33 IST
Last Updated : 06 May 2024, 11:33 IST

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New York: Donald Trump returns to a New York courtroom on Monday, where he will be forced to sit silently while others testify about his efforts during the 2016 presidential election to cover up news of an alleged tryst with a porn star.

Trump's criminal hush money trial, entering its 12th day, has featured testimony from a top aide and a former tabloid publisher about efforts during his first presidential bid to tamp down stories of his unflattering sexual behavior.

New York prosecutors have charged Trump with falsifying business records to cover up a $130,000 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels, who claims to have had a sexual encounter with him in 2006. Trump has pleaded not guilty and denies ever having sex with Daniels.

Trump complains frequently that the first criminal trial of a former US president has kept him cooped up in a chilly Manhattan courtroom when he should be out wooing voters as he mounts a comeback White House bid.

Over the weekend, he hosted a bevy of potential vice presidential picks at a Republican Party event in Florida.

The case features sordid allegations of adultery and secret payoffs, but it is widely seen as less consequential than three other criminal prosecutions Trump faces. It is the only one certain to go to trial before the November 5 presidential election.

The other cases charge him with trying to overturn his 2020 presidential defeat and mishandling classified documents after leaving office. Trump has pleaded not guilty to all three.

It is unclear who will testify on Monday. Prosecutors have kept their witness list secret out of concerns that Trump could try to influence key players in the trial.

Trump has been fined $9,000 by Justice Juan Merchan for violating a gag order barring him from making public comments about jurors, witnesses and families of the judge and prosecutors as his statements interfered with the case proceedings.

Merchan is considering whether to impose another fine for further alleged violations, as prosecutors have requested.

The main players in the case have yet to testify, including Daniels and Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen, who handled the payment to Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford.

Last week, the 12 jurors and six alternates who will decide Trump's guilt or innocence, heard the testimony of Hope Hicks, his former longtime aide who described frantic efforts to respond to stories of alleged affairs and sexual harassment that cropped up in the waning weeks of the 2016 campaign.

Hicks grew emotional as she testified that Trump told her to deny that he had sex with Daniels and wanted to keep his wife Melania from hearing about the allegation. That could help Trump's defense, which maintains he made the payment to shield his family rather than deceive voters.

Prosecutors say Trump's payment to Daniels corrupted the election by keeping the news from voters, at a time when the Republican Trump's treatment of women was a central issue in his campaign against Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

They accuse him of falsifying records to cover up election-law and tax-law violations that elevate the 34 counts he faces from misdemeanors to felonies punishable by up to four years in prison.

Jurors have also heard from Daniels' former lawyer, Keith Davidson, who helped secure the payment, and former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker, who testified that he worked with Trump to suppress stories that might have hurt his presidential bid.

Published 06 May 2024, 11:33 IST

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